Thing 21: Productivity Tools

While looking at my workplace one would probably assume I am not entirely organized. In a way that is true, I often find myself with things scattered about in seemingly arbitrary ways. While that is definitely the way things look to people it all has a sense of order that I understand. Within my piles I think I stay organized because I am a huge fan of todo lists. I use them for everything small tasks big tasks and everything inbetween.

I really enjoyed using workflowery. It was user friendly and intuitive. I can find it being helpful for me especially because I cannot misplace the list first of all. I also liked the features that allowed you to be as vague or as specific with layers needed. I have already created a list for things I must do prior to the start of the school year. One feature I wish that it had was the ability to share the list with others.

I did try out remember the milk, it did have that nice feature of being able to share. It also allows for importing with google calender which is nice but I found it clunky and difficult to manipulate. The definite benefit however to this tool opposed to just workflowery is that it can schedule alarms, alerts, and time/date information to your tasks.

The last tool I would like to mention is one tab. I suppose I can see this being useful to some, but for me I see it as just an extra step. Typically when I have multiple tabs open I am using most of those tabs at once. With One Tab it does condense all the tabs into a neat list but as you begin to use each site the tabs just come back. Perhaps with more use I could see more value in this tool but for now, for me I am not a big fan.


Thing 3: Online Communities & Personal Learning Networks

I am going to be honest here. I a millenial despise Twitter. I’ve had to use it in the past and just found it irritating. I think I prefer typically the more traditional forms of communication.

With that being said Twitter can obviously serve an important and useful role even in my life. One way that I use Twitter (really my sister does it currently) is by connecting with the kids that I coach. We created a Twitter Handle that we then told our athletes they must follow. This is how we relay messages to our team about practice times or other relevant team wide information. They are allowed to retweet our tweets but they are not allowed to tweet at us. To ensure they are unable to do so we use the privacy setting that allows for moderation. It is a highly effecient means of communication for our athletes and it helps us send messages out without the need to contact the team individually.

Just today I have created another Twitter Handle that I will be using to help communicate to my school community. It is focusing on an individual PBL project and it will update families as the year progresses. We can also use it to follow individuals who will also be working with us on our project.

Twitter has a place in my professional life in order to communicate but I do not think I could really get into it as a professional development tool or for personel use.

Thing 7: Podcasting and Screencasting

I am so fortunate that at my school all of the students either have a Nexus Tablet or a Chrome Book. What librarian wouldn’t jump for joy about that! Even better for me is I too get these things and I am loving using them and learning all of the really cool stuff we can do with them.

I have used ScreenCasting in the past and had a wonderful time with it. I had used Screencast-O-Matic and it was so easy. As I was working on this topic I was a bit disappointed that my Chrome Book was unable to use that service but then like a shining light came Screencastify. How Simple. It is just an Extension and it’s design is incredibly intuitive.

I know it is kind of long, I probably will trim it down some eventually but I have created a tutorial to show students how to access and checkout E-Books from Follet Shelf. I think I could have broken this down into a few different videos instead of one long video to help hold student interest but it’s good for now.

You can watch it on my library libguide under the read tab.


just click this link!

Thing 5: Digital Storytelling/Presentation Tools

This has been my favorite topic so far! I am actually quite familiar with many of these tools and services so I decided to really go for it and dive in with Moovly because I have yet to use this particular program.

Moovly is a webbased video program that depending on the length of video you are creating it is free!

I have to say my first experience with this service was frustrating…..probably because I am the kind of person to jump into things without a significant amount of background information. While it is frustrating it is definitely the best way for me to learn. That being said I truly enjoyed creating a video that will help inform students, staff, and guardians of the recent genrefication project done in their library. It took almost 5 hours to complete!

I loved how the timing manipulation was so easy and user friendly. There were many options to make each video unique, including the ability to add personal video segments, audio clips, and photos. Along with the ability to upload there is a plethora of images to choose directly from Moovly.

I can definitely see students using this for any class and for a multitude of projects. I personally liked it better than animoto, however, it would be very difficult to make the video as fluid as animoto videos.

Watch it here on the school library webpage!

SSMshs Library

Thing 2: Photo Fun

In today’s world almost everyone has access to a camera and almost everyone can justifiably call themselves an amateur photographer. This is awesome! I was actually just listening to NPR a few days ago and there was a discussion on that very topic. He was a photo archivist and one might expect him to dislike digital photography but he in fact embraced it. His only fear was that most of those images will be lost years from now simply because those physical photographs no longer exist. He questioned the likelyhood of digital images stored on an SD card to make it into history.

I believe the answer to that is all of these awesome social media, and digital storage devices. I think most of these services make images more available. However, I guess the argument could be made what happens if our digital world eventually fails? But I don’t particularly see that happening in the near future.

Anyways, enough of that rant.

I loved the idea of making trading cards. I made a sample below (I love dogs by the way.)


How cool would it be to have students create trading cards for the characters of a novel they are reading!

All the different things that are available are amazing and its free! How can it be better than free!?

I love technology and I am so fortunate that every student in my building either has a tablet or a chromebook, how cool!

Thing 1: Blogging

Hello all!

I am Victoria Calarco and I am the Library Media Specialist at South Seneca MS/HS. I am fairly fresh out of school and looking forward to continuing on in my professional Development. As you can see from my previous posts a couple of years ago that this is not my first experience of learning technologies and sharing via a web blog.

I am comfortable with several blogging resources but I stumbled across a glitch I found very surprising this morning. The school that I work at is becoming extremely technology forward. Every middle school student has a Nexus Tablet, every high school student has a Chromebook and every student has a school google account. As a teacher in the building I also have a school provided tablet and Chromebook. I have been using for this Cool Tools Seminar, when I went to try out Blogger for this activity I discovered the school system has blocked it.

I think censorship may become a theme as we use technology more and more. To keep this issue at bay I think we need to as others have emphasized stress the importance of digital citizenship and cyber security. Students need to learn what is appropriate and safe not just necessarily be sheltered from it. (I am not trying to make the point that EVERYTHING should be unblocked, clearly some things should not be allowed at school!)

podcasting in the classroom

Book reviews are extremely popular and an excellent way to incorporate podcasting into an educational setting for school libraries or schools as a whole, but is that all they are good for?


Podcasting is so versatile and simplistic or complex that it is a shame not to use podcasting in a variety of ways. Below are some ways that I think podcasting can and should be used.

  • Not only are book reviews good but why not make them really exciting and have the librarian or students create book trailers for their students or peers. Make it as good as a commercial for a movie!
  • Have students make podcasts of their creative writing assignments, allow them to be dramatic in the readings and add sound effects or other background noises to make the reading interesting and exciting. Storytelling, poetry, etc…
  • PUBLISH PUBLISH PUBLISH!!! Publish student’s podcasts online giving them a sense of ownership and pride in their work.
  • Create a podcast to share library news or school news. Weekly or daily recordings could be made and incorporated in an rss feed.
  • Make podcasts of interviews with visiting authors or other guests of the school or community.
  • Students can begin creating audio blogs opposed to text based differentiating learner needs.
  • Have students create a school radio program incorporating all of the other ideas!!!

Have any other ideas?

Anyone can edit a Wiki : )…or do I mean : /

A wiki can be an excellent tool to allow for online collaboration of students. They allow for anyone to make posts, comments and edit whether it is simultaneous or one at a time. But for the same reasons a wiki can be great it can also be a disaster if not closely monitored. Students are able to make changes to other individual’s comments or they can simply delete them if they wanted. This can be a huge problem. It would be best for educators to set firm ground rules to ensure that what students do on the wiki will be monitored and there will be consequences. I think the three most important rules to include would absolutely be:

 1. Be as honest and accurate as possible,

2. Do not delete or edit peer posts,

3. Be kind and respectful.

While I think those are the three most important I will include two links that give several other rules that would be a good idea to follow. ,

where does on literacy end and another begin?

To be literate to me has transformed from simply meaning the ability to read and write and has transformed into a base word meaning the ability to perceive , understand and then communicate your understandings. Literate is no longer just for reading and writing but it could mean that. Words like computer, information, emotional, critical thinking, digital, math, etc….. can all be found before literate and all relate to that subject or thought.

Where does one literacy end and another begin?

Are these new forms of literacy so rigid that there is an ending and a beginning? To me I feel like they all simply overlap each other. To be highly literate in one are a person MUST have some form of literacy in another area. For example for a person to be information literate in today’s world they must have a basic form of digital literacy as well as the original form of literacy(reading and even writing.)

The author of the Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, Doug Belshaw, had views that made me stop and think and come to that conclusion. He stated in his Blog, with a quote by Potter,,

Reading literacy, visual literacy and computer literacy are not synonyms for media literacy; instead, they are merely components.

All of the different literacies combined make whole new literacies.

buzz book blogs-get uninterested students to read!

As kids get older their passion for reading often times decreases. Could this be due to schools and teachers assigning readings that are of no interest to today’s students? Are the classics outdated for students? I believe the classics are great reads however, although, I was an avid reader in high school I rarely enjoyed the assigned readings. I loved science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction and read on my own. But I did not like reading Shakespeare, Dickens and other great works. Could students be falling victim to a non interest in school materials, which then means to them that all reading is dull?

Patrick Higgins suggests that can be changed. Reading is a social process in which when a book is good its recommended and that process continues on through different people. So why not take that social process and put it online. Create Blogs in which the small group of students whom already enjoy reading would read buzz books. A buzz book is a book that is wildly popular for an age group ie:Harry Potter,Twilight. The students and teachers would then blog about the buzz book. Students who may not generally enjoy reading may change their minds because these books may be of interest to them.

Students need to be allowed to choose books and then they must be able to talk about them.  This is how students may learn to enjoy reading and encourage each other to read more!